the fresh films reviews

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Lolita (1962)

Directed by:
Stanley Kubrick
152 minutes
Produced by:
James B. Harris
Written by (based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov):
Vladimir Nabokov

Cast includes:

Humbert Humbert James Mason
Charlotte Haze Shelley Winters
Lolita Sue Lyons
Quilty Peter Sellers



The fact that censorship at the time of this movie's production was strict as far as explicit eroticism was concerned isn't at all the main problem with this bleak, ill-focused adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's iconic novel. Not only is this a non-erotic, romantically shallow portrait, it is also a conceptual misfire with way too much focus on the mysterious Quilty. Peter Sellers is charming (ultimately too charming as it were), but the Quilty/Humbert relation seems out of place and takes the focus away from the nature of Humberts character and his relationship with Lolita.

As I have said in my review of Adrian Lyne's version of Lolita (1997), it is a real challenge to convert Humbert Humbert's complex inner thoughts to the screen, but Kubrick doesn't even really try. This is a film that seemingly follows every plot-line in the novel slavishly, but it doesn't ever dig into the psychological aspects which are so important to the story. Furthermore, there is no spark between Mason and Lyons (apart from a couple of scenes early on), and James Mason - although appropriately suave, lacks confidence and command in the lead. One of Kubrick's most disappointing films.

Copyright 15.12.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]